Astorino Announces $25 Million Playland Redevelopment Deal
John Jordan | April 1, 2015
WHITE PLAINS—Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced on April 14th that Standard Amusements invest $25 million in private money into Playland over the next five years. The designation of the New York City-based firm follows the departure last year of Sustainable Playland, which withdrew from consideration for the project last June.
The $25-million investment will go toward revitalizing Playland with new rides and attractions, as well as upgrading food choices, picnic areas, and restaurants and renovating grounds and buildings. Proposed new rides include a Double AquaLoop Slide, UniCoaster and a mini water park for young children, county officials said.
“This deal meets our three goals for preserving Playland,” said Astorino. “It stops the losses for taxpayers, which have been running about $4 million a year, it puts the park in the hands of a top-flight operator with strong financial resources and decades of experience, and it revitalizes Playland as a must-visit destination for family fun for years to come.”
Standard Amusements will pay the county $2.25 million up front; invest $22.75 million of its money within five years into refurbishing the park; and make annual payments to the county starting at $300,000 and escalating 2% a year. The county will also receive 7.5% of profits once Standard Amusements has recouped its initial investment.
“Rye Playland was a special part of my childhood, and I couldn’t be more excited to play a role in its future,” said Nicholas Singer, a partner of Standard Amusements.
For its $25 million investment, Standard Amusements will receive the right to operate the park for 15 years with an option to renew for an additional 15 years under what is being called the Playland Management Agreement (PMA). Standard Amusements has entered into an operating arrangement with United Parks, which is headed by CEO Jack Falfas. The structure of the PMA allows the county to retain full control of the property, as well as any material benefits from the capital improvements made by Standard Amusements.
Playland will open for the 2015 season on May 9 under current county management. The rejuvenation of the park will be handled by Falfas of United Parks, who will be personally overseeing Playland’s operations and will take up residence in Rye during the first full year of the agreement.
The agreement now goes to the County Board of Legislators, which has 60 days to approve it. Upon board approval, Standard Amusements would co-manage the park with the county for the remainder of the 2015 season, beginning the transition to its role of sole operator on Nov. 1, 2015.
The PMA followed a recommendation in a report commissioned by the county from Biederman Redevelopment Ventures. The report recommended that the “daily operation of the amusement park and parking lot sections of Playland should be transferred to Standard Amusements.”